What is ketotic hypoglycaemia?
Ketotic hypoglycaemia is a rare but serious form of low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) that occurs in young children after a period of fasting, usually after illness. It is often called “accelerated starvation” and usually occurs in children between 18 months and five years, and generally goes away spontaneously before eight or nine years.
With ketotic hypoglycaemia, the body doesn’t have enough stored carbohydrates to correct the low blood sugar. Most children can tolerate going without food for a brief period with no serious side effects. But in this case skipping a meal may result in very low blood sugar levels.
The body converts fats into usable carbohydrates (gluconeogenesis) to meet energy needs. A by-product of this process is ketones. When ketones build up in the blood, they can lead to serious problems, such as coma.
Treatment of ketotic hypoglycaemia may include intravenous (IV) saltwater (saline) and sugar (dextrose) solutions.
Signs and symptoms of ketotic hypoglycaemia:
■Fatigue and lethargy
■Low blood pressure, resulting in dizziness
■Loss of consciousness